The Twelve by Justin Cronin

cronin-the-twelve_510Give people hope, and you could make them do just about anything. And not just your average, everyday kind of hope–for food or clothes or the absence of pain or good suburban schools or low down payments with easy financing. What people needed was a hope beyond the visible world, the world of the body and its trials, of life’s endless dull parade of things. A hope that all was not as it appeared.

What it’s about: In this sequel to The Passage survivors of a government-induced vampire apocalypse try to rebuild some semblance of society, while a century into the future, while characters from the first book keep searching for the original twelve virals.

Why I liked it: This was a terrific read, if you like scary-as-hell, on-the-edge-of-your-seat, big-ass vampire books. And I do. Dare I say that it was even better than its predecessor? At the very least, they were comparable, and I find that rare in a series.

I enjoyed going back to the beginning and revisiting the collapse from some different points of view, before jumping forward 100 years in time to rejoin some of the characters from the previous book. But before that was a harrowing scene in a section called “The Field” that has been giving me the willies ever since. Yes, this is the right book to read at Halloween.

Justin Cronin was a writer of small, award-winning literary novels before he started on this blockbuster, and he really has a way with character, which is what makes these books so engrossing. I think it’s terrific when gifted writers turn their talents to big, sprawling, fantastic (in the sense of not being reality-based) stories.

You may like this book if: Certainly, Cronin owes a lot to Stephen King (and The Stand is still showing its influence), so King lovers will probably also dig this series.

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